Athlete plans DUI awareness campaign after Northeast Fresno crash

July 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former Central East High School athlete is planning an awareness campaign for the dangers of drinking and driving.

This after Fresno police arrested his former basketball coach, Loren LeBeau, for DUI.

Investigators say LeBeau was under the influence when he struck three family members in a crosswalk in Northeast Fresno Wednesday night.

Action News talked with a close family friend who says Donovan's sister Bella was still in still critical condition on Friday night. Their father Jesse is heavily sedated. He underwent surgery for a broken leg.

Fresno police are still waiting on toxicology reports for Loren LeBeau. They say he admitted to being the driver that struck the Maldonado family.

One of LeBeau's former players at Central East High School was so devastated by the allegations against LeBeau he decided he wants to create something positive from a bad situation.

Alton Williams is not even old enough to drink but at 20 years old the former high school basketball player is working to keep drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.

"This is what's going on, this is a real problem and real lives are being affected," Williams said.

The issue of drinking and driving, he says, became real to him Wednesday night. That's when his former basketball coach, a man he admires, was arrested by Fresno police.

"He taught me a lot. Quite frankly he was the best coach I've had so far," Williams said.

Investigators say Loren LeBeau failed a field sobriety test after he struck the Jesse Maldonado and his two kids, Donovan and Bella, in this crosswalk with his car.

"It's two families that's involved and nobody asked for this. You just never realize how much a decision that you make - how it affects not only yourself, but the community," Williams said.

Williams is now working with Father's Against Drunk Driving, a group based in Porterville. They're planning a walk-a-thon in North Fresno sometime in September.

Williams isn't a father, but drinking and driving prevention is his new mission. "It's just something that I want to turn from a negative into a positive," he said.

The same thing happened at the accident scene Friday afternoon. Maldonado family friends collected about $2500 in donations to help the family pay for medical and burial expenses.

"No hesitation, people are just giving left and right. Some complete strangers just crying while they give money. Even though they didn't know the family their hearts are heavy with the whole situation," Tricia Funk said.

Heavy hearts, working toward the positive, for those who know both the accused and the victims.

The DUI awareness event is not yet finalized.

There are several more fundraisers for the Maldonado family planned for the weekend:

Carwash for Donovan Maldonado, to help offset costs for parents will be held at Bailey European - 32 W. Spruce Ave Fresno CA 93720 at 10am. Event being held by Donovan's football team.

Car Wash at Break the Barriers at Teague and Cedar: it's being held by Donovan's sister's soccer team. Event starts at 10am.


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